#WestCoastWaters; #acidifying; #foraminifera; #humanCausedCO2Emissions;
California, Dec 22 (CAnadian-Media): After examining the core samples from the bottom of the Santa Barbara Channel, it was revealed reveal that the waters off the California coast are acidifying twice as fast as the global average, media reports said.
The results of a new study to track the thickness of shells belonging to microscopic animals called foraminifera that had accumulated in Channel sediment over the last 125 years was conducted by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists showed California waters experienced a 0.21 decline in pH in that time, more than double the worldwide average of 0.1 pH.
Scientists measured the thickness of microscopic foraminifera shells trapped in Santa Barbara Channel sediment to track the rate of ocean acidification over the last 125 years. | Credit: noaa
Chemical reaction in the water caused due to increasing amounts of man-made emissions of CO2 absorption by the ocean increase the water’s acidity. Besides causing more frequent and more toxic algae blooms, higher acid levels are fatal to coral and more difficult for organisms like clams and oysters to build their shells.
The study threw an interesting and surprising light on the connection between acidification and a natural warming and cooling cycle called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
The scientists pointed out that with the increased amount of ocean acidification due to human-caused CO2 emissions, this natural variation also plays an important role in alleviating or amplifying the trend.
“During the cool phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, strengthened winds across the ocean drive carbon dioxide-rich waters upward toward the surface along the West Coast of the U.S.,” said lead author Emily Osborne in a press statement. “It’s like a double whammy, increasing ocean acidification in this region of the world.”
The study’s findings could have major impacts on the management of some of the most economically valuable fisheries in the country like California crab and shellfish fisheries, the scientists said.